Argentina defeated Canada 3-1 (34-32, 24-26, 25-22, 25-22) in a tough clash on Wednesday, May 25 to reach the final of the XI Men’s Pan American Cup at the Olympic Gymnasium Juan de la Barrera in Mexico City.
The tournament website notes Argentina edged Canada in one of the most intense battles of the volleyball tournament. Argentina won a kilometric first set in what predicted to be a fierce challenge. The same aggressiveness in spikes followed into the second set for the tie. Canadians lost focus in the last set while Argentina continued pushing hard for a five-point lead which the North American team struggled to cut short.
In numbers, Argentina held little advantage in kills (61-59) and in blocks (13-12), Canada (2-1) in serves. Argentina benefited from 33 errors from Canada, while committing 29.
Canada’s top scorers were outside hitter Jason Derocco with 17 points, on 14 spikes, 2 blocks and 1 ace; opposite Brad Gunter of Courtenay scored 13 points, on 11 spikes and 2 blocks; and Stephen Maar scored 12 points.
Argentina will meet Cuba (who beat Mexico in the other semifinal) in the gold medal match on May 26 while Canada and Mexico will vie for the bronze medal, also on May 26.
Canadian captain Brett Walsh said, “It’s never fun to lose in sports, we’re disappointed; we fought a good fight against a really good Argentinean team and we can hold our heads high.”
Coach Georges Laplante said, “We didn’t follow our game plan and my players were very tense, while Argentina has played steady the whole tournament and we knew it was going to be a hard game to overcome.
“Playing against Argentina, who as long as I’ve been coaching have very skillful players, benefits my players who are the future of Canada. They kept us always in the edge.”